The Ecosystem of Good: How We’ll Revolutionize Philanthropy

October 20, 2016 Catherine LaCour

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, my assumption is it’s because you’re someone working to build a better world.

That means I probably know at least two things about you:

  1. You’re driven by passion and believe intensely that good can take over.
  2. Sometimes you get discouraged. Because, even though you see progress every day, you’re also acutely aware of the magnitude of the challenge you’re working to address.

But what would it be like – in those moments of discouragement – if you could step back and see all the other people working for good?

Even more: What if you could not only see the others who share your passion, but connect with them, work together and do more? That would be more than just a ripple effect. It would be world-changing.

What I’m talking about is what we’ve come to call an ecosystem of good – people, organizations and communities coming together in a collaborative system to achieve social impact.

What’s so powerful about coming together? It all comes down to the network effect. This is the phenomenon that happens when value of the system increases with the number of users in that system.

Take Facebook: If you were the only person on Facebook, it wouldn’t hold much value for you. You’re not there to look at your own posts, right? The value comes from the fact that almost everyone you know is there.

Now, translate this idea to an ecosystem of good.

The more networked and connected organizations and individual change agents become, the more value others get from joining that ecosystem. So, basically, as a system grows, it gets better, more valuable and more powerful— that is, more able to respond to challenges in our world, more efficiently.

And what if we used the power of the cloud to truly connect people, organizations and communities – if technology not only connected us anytime, anyplace, but helped us uncover solutions to the challenges we face?

  • What if, within seconds of a major natural disaster, the ecosystem could identify a need for a specific medical supplies and find inventory at a pharmaceutical company, and the capacity to transport it via a shipping company?
  • What if the ecosystem activated volunteers with specific skills to work onsite, and scheduled transportation for them using empty seats on flights?
  • What if the system could identify, within moments of disaster, which organizations were best positioned to lead on various parts of the recovery effort and connected them? So that people around the world could make a donation to a general fund from their mobile device that would be rapidly funneled to the point of highest impact?

This is an ecosystem of good – and it has the potential to solve new problems in revolutionary ways. It could change how we give, how we act, how organizations work together and could exponentially increase the results we seek.

Technology can create an unprecedented network effect that builds a better world and fuels an ecosystem of good. I just had a chance to share about this vision with TEDx Charleston – and we’ll make sure to share the video with you as soon as we can.

Now, I work for a tech company – so I can find myself focused on the excitement the technology generates here. The potential for transformation when you amplify the impact of an ecosystem of good through technology is simply stunning. But the real power of the ecosystem of good isn’t the technology. It’s in the people and passion it connects.

So, let’s go back to my original theory – you know, the one I had about you.

Is today the day you can reach out across organizational lines and connect with someone else in the social good community who shares your passion? That connection might drive new solutions and catalytic impact. And it might encourage you. Because sometimes pursuing good in the world is hard—but the powerful truth is we’re in this together.

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